Section 154C Crimes Act | Taking Motor Vehicle with Assault


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While section 154A of the Crimes Act deals with the offence of stealing cars, section 154C of the Crimes Act deals with the more serious offence of “taking vehicle or vessel with assault.”

This refers to situations where you take a motor vehicle or vessel without permission from the owner and you commit an assault on another person in the course of doing so.

An assault refers to any action that causes another person to fear immediate and unlawful personal violence. While an assault generally involves some kind of touching without consent, it is not necessary to prove that you actually touched the other person for there to be an assault.

You can also be charged under this section if you steal a motor vehicle or vessel while someone is inside it.

If you are found guilty of this offence, you could face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

You could also face a heavier maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment if you commit this offence in “circumstances of aggravation,” that is, where there are factors which make the offence more serious.

Under section 154C, there are three possible “circumstances of aggravation,” however the prosecution only needs to prove one of them to charge you with an aggravated offence.

The circumstances of aggravation are:

  • Where you were with another person(s) at the time you committed the offence;
  • Where you were armed with an offensive weapon or instrument (i.e. anything capable of causing harm or injury to another person, including firearms and other objects that are not typically classified as weapons, but which are used for a dangerous purpose – e.g. baseball bats);
  • Where you deliberately or recklessly inflict actual bodily harm (harm that is more than transient or trifling) on another person.

While the penalties for this offence are obviously harsh, our criminal law specialists can advise you on the best course of action when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.

The Legislation

Section 154C of the Crimes Act deals with the offence of “taking motor vehicle or vessel with assault” and reads as follows:

154C Taking motor vehicle or vessel with assault or with occupant on board

(1) A person who:

(a) assaults another person with intent to take a motor vehicle or vessel and, without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of it, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, or

(b) without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of a motor vehicle or vessel, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, when a person is in or on it,

is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

(3) In this section:“circumstances of aggravation” means circumstances involving any one or more of the following:

(a) the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons,

(b) the alleged offender is armed with an offensive weapon or instrument,

(c) the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person.

“Drive” includes operate. “Motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle within the meaning of the Road Transport (General) Act 2005.“Vessel” means a vessel within the meaning of the Marine Safety Act 1998.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Taking a motor vehicle or vessel with assault is a serious offence that can have a negative impact on your life and future.

However, you can take the first positive step towards fighting the charges by enlisting the help of Sydney’s criminal law specialists.

With decades of experience fighting and winning some of the most serious criminal and traffic matters, you can rest assured that your case is in safe hands.

Our lawyers have considerable experience defending clients in “stealing vehicle or vessel with assault” cases and will fight hard to protect your rights – no matter how serious the charges are.

We seek to have cases resolved quickly at a minimal cost by identifying problems with the prosecution case and pushing to have the charges dropped on this basis.

However, if the matter proceeds to court, our specialist lawyers will work alongside Sydney’s best criminal barristers to secure the most favourable outcome possible.

We can advise you of any defences that you may raise – for example, where you were coerced or threatened into stealing the car.

Alternatively, if you simply wish to plead guilty, our outstanding advocates will prepare persuasive sentencing submissions in order to maximise your chances of receiving a lenient penalty.

For the best result in your case, you need the best legal team on your side. Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our criminal law specialists.